Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sleeping Beauty and Jack in the Beanstalk

I thought to combine these two because while I have a fair number of books for both of them, neither are enough I want to write a full post about.

 

Briar Rose- This is probably the first adaptation of it I read, and it takes out most of the magic.  Except for the story that a girl believes about her grandmother.  She  grew up with her grandmother insisting she was the real Sleeping Beauty and so when she grows up she journeys back to Germany to discover her grandmother’s past.  This is not for younger kids, I’d rate it late junior high (this is part of a series written for adults that contain virtually no sex, but it is more mature in writing style), because of the somewhat intense scenes set during World War 2.

Spindle’s End- Another Robin McKinley book.  I love her take on the solution for Sleeping Beauty and how they hid away Rose.  The feel of this is somewhat similar to Beauty, her first book.  All in all it’s a very enjoyable book.

 

 

Enchantment- One of the few books set in modern times that features magic.  This also quite interestingly enough combines both Sleeping Beauty and Baba Yaga, being set in Russia, vaguely, for parts of it.  It’s an interesting combination because parts of it are set in medeival times and parts are in modern times, and the male protagonist is Jewish, which leads to some interesting problems when he is in the medeival times.

 

Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep- Another in the Gail Carson Levine Princess Tales.  Princess Sonora is given many gifts at her Christening, among them being great knowledge, and she knows everything.  Of course, she’s also given a curse to fall asleep on her 16th birthday.  Many years later the saying arises, “Ask Princess Sonora she’ll know,” and the Prince in the nearby kingdom wants to ask Princess Sonora so she can answer all the questions he has.  So he sets out on a quest to find and wake her up.  I love this variation, because it seems like he wants to find her for more reasons than because she’s pretty.  And let’s face it, all of these end much happier and in a much more normal way than the original version (depending on the one you read, she wakes up pregnant with twins, and then her mother-in-law is an ogress that wants to eat her).

 

Sleepless Beauty- I’m getting tired of getting the pictures.  This version she’s cursed to fall asleep, but she decides she’s going to control when she falls asleep and how she’ll wake up.  It’s cute simple and one I can read to my preschoolers right now.

 

I’m just gonna cover my two novelizations of Jack and the Beanstalk, because I don’t know my two picture books super well.  They’re cute, but nothing special.

 

The Thief and the Beanstalk-  I love this as a continuation of Jack’s tale.  Now Jack is all grown up and lives in a grand manor and everyone knows the story of how he got rich.  Well, a band of thieves has decided they’re going to break into Jack’s castle and steal that goose.  They send a young boy in first to gain Jack’s confidence, and as the story progresses the boy is trying to decide where his loyalties lie.  It does a really interesting job of looking at morality without preaching.

 

Jack of Kinrowan- This is actually an omnibus of two books.  Charles DeLint wrote this as part of the Fairy Tales series that Briar Rose is part of.  I scour Half Price and used bookstores to find books in this series, and have thought of buying multiple copies of some of these books.  This is called a “modern fairy tale” it’s set in modern days in a major city (I forget which one).  And in this one Jacky Rowan has been called upon to help slay a giant, but she’s not even really sure if she believes in all of this stuff, let alone is up to killing a giant.  One of the details I appreciate in this series is all of the mythos it brings in.  It brings in all of the minor pixie and fair folk characters, and little bits of lore of how to stop fairies.  Things like sewing some red thread through your clothes can stop their magic and other nice little details.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say the second book is not as good as the first, but it does continue in the same vein.

 

If I get a chance later this week I’m going to write about my favorite books that include multiple fairy tales.  There’s several series that have come out recently that combine fairy tales in interesting ways, and I love those ideas.  Of course a good deal of these books are not intended for kids cough Fables cough cough.

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